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5 PR Hacks for Small Businesses

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Focus: trending content and good storytelling are key to a good press release

No week goes by without a couple of very odd press releases landing in my inbox. And when I say odd, I really mean it: from PR agencies promoting the launch of the latest car models (I have never written about cars) or the classic release featuring a non-story – sometimes even price lists or other marketing pieces far, far away from journalism – I get sent it all. As you might expect … yes, they get deleted at the speed of light.

But how, actually, can small businesses and freelancers try to get featured in the media in 2022?

For a start, what PR teams or anyone working behind communications must keep in mind is: journalists don’t publish information about companies; what the media is looking for are engaging stories that can appeal to their many readers. It is as simple as that. It is storytelling, and not how much a product or service costs, that will catch the attention of professional journalists.

With that in mind – and to spare the poor inboxes of journalists working in a variety of newsrooms across the country, here are five PR hacks that might help your business land a feature or an interview in your local papers, or even national press.

Tailored media list is the key

It is not about quantity but quality when it comes to creating a good list of contacts you should be sending your well-crafted press release to. A small pool of, let’s say, 30 journalists within your niche is more valuable than sending it to 500 professionals that don’t even sporadically write on topics common between their target audiences and your target clients.

Start by cultivating good relationships with the media and create your own media list of bloggers and journalists writing about your industry. Although it is a painstaking process that you can’t cheat on, if you want to get results it is also a rewarding one. And no, never buy mailing lists off the internet. They are often loaded with contacts that are neither updated nor useful to your business.

Leverage trending content

Thanks to hashtags and social media, it is easier than ever for businesses, big or small, to spot trending topics and take advantage of them. So, if something related to your industry is trending on Twitter or being exhaustively shared on Instagram or Facebook, carefully jump on the bandwagon by sharing insights or knowledge about your business to position yourself as a market leader in your field. Every day, the news cycle brings dozens of opportunities for businesses to get great PR by relating their story to an existing news story.

Be aware of deadlines

There is no point in spending time and resources writing the perfect press release and then sending it to your news outlet of choice on a Friday afternoon. When planning press releases, make sure you are aware of their deadlines, and you will already be a big step ahead. Different organisations have different deadlines, with magazines often going to print weeks in advance. Even daily publications tend to have a schedule for special supplements featuring anything from economy to gadgets and fashion. The same applies for radio and TV.

Storytelling is your friend

When sending out a press release, detach yourself from your business and ask the following question: is there a story here? And would I publish that story? It goes without saying that, before sending a press release to bloggers and journalists, you must double-check to see if the story is clear and if all contact points are included at the end of the press release, as some journalists may want to get in touch to ask questions or even expand your material into a longer feature.

The bottom line here is that a press release is a story that the media can share with their readers and viewers. It is less about your business and more about a wider appeal.

Learn to follow up properly

First things first: following up on a press release isn’t simply forwarding it again. As a journalist I can tell you this right now: nothing is more infuriating that that junior PR employee resending the same material every other day, hoping that, one day, you will open your inbox and magically fall in love with the old content they are trying so hard to plug in the media. If re-sending something, offer a new piece of insight or reassure the journalist you are contacting that you are available to talk over the phone or to organise for he or she to talk to a representative of your company to get some valuable quotes than can positively add to a possible feature.

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, there are over 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, but not all of them will spend time trying to figure out how to work with journalists. If something newsworthy is happening within your business and you can write a press release that is both informative and features a relatable story, you are already well ahead in the PR game.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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Disneyland Paris renames theme park in $2 billion revamp

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Facade os Disney Paris with Disney's characters standing in front of it
The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

Disneyland Paris has unveiled a new name for Walt Disney Studios Park as part of the park’s US$2 billion transformation.

Walt Disney Studios Park will become Disney Adventure World when the new immersive area, World of Frozen, opens.

The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

“We’re changing the story of Walt Disney Studios Park, evolving from ‘how it’s done’ soundstages to celebratory theatres and adventures that come to life in immersive worlds,” said Tom Fitzgerald, chief storytelling executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and senior creative executive for Disneyland Paris.

“These fully realised adventure worlds will become the focus of the park’s new identity and appear as realms that guests discover as they navigate deeper within the park and are invited to participate in adventures inspired by our most beloved stories.”

As part of the rebrand, the park’s entrance is also being reimagined, with the current design replaced with ‘crafted décor that pays homage to historic movie theaters in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole.’

“Embracing a transformation that involves the overhaul of more than 90 percent of Walt Disney Studios Park since its debut in 2002, we’re unveiling a fresh creative vision that has completely redefined our second gate,” said Natacha Rafalski, president of Disneyland Paris.

Previous investments in the property include World of Pixar, which opened at the park in 2021 and Avengers Campus (2022).

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EU economy forecast to grow 1.0% in 2024

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Expected economy growth is largely due to consumers spending more this year | Photo: Christiann Koepke

The Commission has published this week a new forecast for the European Union economy, with a more upbeat scenario for consumers. After a downturn in economic activity in 2023, inflation rates will continue to drop and the EU economy should gradually grow in 2024. This is largely driven by ‘consumers spending more, thanks to higher wages and more job opportunities,’ it is believed. 

Concretely, the EU economy should grow 1.0% in 2024. The euro area economy should reach 0.8% of growth. In 2025, GDP will grow even more. Meantime, EU inflation has fallen dramatically since it peaked in 2022. It is expected to wind down to 2.7% in 2024 and to 2.2% in 2025.  

The jobs market is also performing well. Despite the slowdown in activity, the EU economy created more than 2 million jobs in 2023. Activity and employment rates of people aged 20-64 hit new record highs in the last quarter of the year. In March 2024, the unemployment rate in the EU stood at a record low of 6.0%. 

Some challenges remain. For instance, investment growth is slowing since fewer new homes are being built, which affects various industries. As a result, it is expected that interest rates will drop more slowly than anticipated. 

The Commission publishes four economic forecasts throughout a given year, covering GDP and inflation data for all Member States, the EU and the euro area. 

In the UK the scenario is also looking positive, with the Office for National Statistics having recently confirmed that the UK unemployment rate for January to March 2024 (4.3%) is above estimates of a year ago (January to March 2023), and increased in the latest quarter. 

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Mango to strengthens its presence in the UK with 20 store openings

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Mango store facade at Oxford street, London
At the close of the 2023 financial year, Mango had 60 stores in the UK

Mango, one of Europe’s leading fashion groups, continues its expansion and brand consolidation plan in the UK with more than 20 store openings planned for 2024. Growth is focused on expanding its presence in London and Scotland, as well as the arrival for the first time in several cities in Northern Ireland and central and southern England.

“The UK is one of the priority markets for Mango’s international growth. The increased presence in London and our arrival this year in some cities where we have not been present until now will consolidate the Mango brand and help us to strengthen it internationally,” says Daniel López, Mango’s Director of Expansion and Franchising.

The company plans four store openings in London this year, in addition to last February’s opening of a store in the Windsor Yards shopping centre in the heart of historic Windsor, close to Windsor Castle

Mango will also increase its presence in Scotland with store openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and for the first time will reach cities in Northern Ireland, as well as central and southern England. 

The new Mango store will incorporate the New Med Mediterranean-inspired store concept, reflecting the spirit and freshness of the brand. Sustainability and architectural integration are the key to this new design that conceives the Mango store as a Mediterranean home with different spaces in which warm tones and neutral colours predominate, combined with traditional, handcrafted, sustainable and natural materials such as ceramics, tuff, wood, marble, esparto grass and leather.

 
Mango has been present in the UK since 1999. In 2021, the company strengthened its presence in the country with the opening of a new flagship store on Oxford Street in London and three other stores in Manchester, Edinburgh and Derby. 

Last year, Mango opened more than 10 stores, mainly in the south and centre of the country, in major cities such as Bristol, London, Manchester and Leeds. Key among them was the store opening in Westfield Stratford City, one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. In addition, the company arrived for the first time in Brighton with a 470 m2 store in the Churchill Square shopping centre.

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